Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is a 12 episode anime adaptation of the light novel written by Keiichi Sigsawa and illustrated by Kouhaku Kurobashi. It, in turn, is a spin-off of Sword Art Online.
Studio 3Hz produced the anime, and it was directed by Masayuki Sakoi. It aired during the spring 2018 season of anime, and can be watched on Crunchyroll.To start with, Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online can be watched with no prior knowledge of the rest of the Sword Art Online universe. It does occasionally reference parts from the original Sword Art Online, but they don’t have any great impact on the plot.The lead character of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is Karen Kohiruimaki, a girl who has a height complex. In order to overcome that, she dives into the world of VR games, eventually coming across one that gives her ‘munchkin’ avatar, as she puts it.That game she starts playing is Gun Gale Online, under the pseudonym LLENN. Her avatar is small, and she wears all pink – even her FN P90 submachine gun (which she calls P-chan) is pink.
Early on, LLENN meets another girl named Pitohui – the two hit off, and swear to have a serious match some day. Before that, though, LLENN ends up participating in an even called Squad Jam.The main focus is on the battles that take place in Squad Jam, with plenty more characters being introduced besides LLENN. After all, LLENN is going to need some foes to defeat.
Everyone is playing Gun Gale Online for there own reasons, and the action is where this anime shines brightest.As you would expect, gun fights are the main source of action. However, sometimes characters might decide to get up close and personal for some melee battles, and with vehicles scattered around you might even just get a car chase.There’s a variety of different weapons used between all the characters as well. LLENN has her aforementioned machine gun, but you will also see sniper rifles, grenade launchers and maybe a surprise or two here and there.
Studio 3Hz have managed to absolutely nail the action scenes, as they are always thrilling to watch. One of the greatest pleasures of watching Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is seeing LLENN tear through the battlefield with nothing but P-chan and her super speed.Another highlight comes from one of LLENN’s friends, Fukaziroh. She is just an all around fun character, it’s just a shame that you have to wait until the second half for her to make her debut proper. Fuka is worth the wait, though.Whilst the action of Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is arguably its strongest point, the plot isn’t exactly the greatest. It would be acceptable if it was just about Karen playing Gun Gale Online, but instead there is a needlessly convoluted plot revolving around Pitohui.
Pitohui’s real identity is also concealed, but that is something that is very easy to guess early on.Whilst the anime doesn’t completely take place within the world of the Gun Gale Online VR game, the stuff that happens outside of the game is a take it or leave it situation. Not the most compelling viewing, but it’s not exactly terrible, either.
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is exactly as it says: an alternative to Sword Art Online. If you go in expecting to get more Sword Art Online, than you’ll probably be disappointed – or, more optimistically, discover a side of the franchise that you’ve never experienced before and end up enjoying.
For those who have never really been into Sword Art Online in the first place, this is probably an easier sell. Forget it bears the Sword Art Online name, and just enjoy it for the spectacle of the action scenes.
When it comes down to it, Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online is a spectacle – one that is a whole lot of fun to watch. Forget about the convoluted excuse plot, and just enjoy watching LLENN and the other characters tear through the battlefield.